Do people do workouts like "Sail"?

I’ve done a fair amount of VO2 work, especially late 2021 and early 2022 and had a pretty good year last year and was pretty strong (for me) on the bike. I was able to ride consistently with cat 3 guys and over longer distances cat 2 guys. I can recover usually pretty quick and even though my sprint is bad, my 5, 10 and 20 minute repeatable power was pretty solid. I did back slide this past winter quite a lot. I’ll try to get that back for next summer.
Anyway, I was doing a lot of VO2 work, have started that back up again and by chance I ran across “Sail”. This is a total duration of 2 hours with three pretty big blocks of VO2 work. 45 seconds on and 45 seconds off 12 times and 3 sets. I’ve done a lot of 30x15x13s and was doing three sets of those. They were hard and if I went full gas they were extremely hard, to the point of nearly puking.
This looks like it is probably harder given the 45 second duration. Yes you get more rest, and the rest between sets is longer than I was taking by a wide margin. BUT anyone who’s done a lot of VO2 knows that there’s a big difference between a 30 second interval and a 45 second interval. So while the added time between each rep and set is a good thing, I can’t help but think that’ll only get you through the first two sets.
Upon looking at this workout and a few others it almost seems like some of these are impossible if your FTP is set correctly? This is the sort of workout that really…REALLY drains the tank and I’m wondering if it could be worked in once a week or if it’s more of a once a month type deal.

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Athlete dependent. Some folks can knock out on/offs all day. Others are reduced to rubble by the first three efforts. 45 seconds does sound grim, though.

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That sounds like a lovely day on a trainer. Some work, lots of rest, lots of long chill intervals. Only have to focus for a bit at a time.

This is more the kind of nightmare I’m getting offered. It’s the lack of rest that I find crushing.

25/15s at 454/321…


For anaerobically inclined athlete it seems on easy side. I guess you might be on other side of spectrum, considering you prefer long rides and probably have little drop off on long duration power curve?

If this kind of bursts/recoveries are not specific to your rides, then for VO2max development you may want to consider longer intervals (3-6min)?

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If you click on the “All Rides” tab on the workout description page, you can see that a few people do indeed do Sail.

Not many though!

Sail doesn’t look too bad to me? I find on/offs relatively OK though (which is weird as I am defo not a short power person, I just find it takes quite a long interval for it to start feeling hard and I recover quite fast).

I mean I probably still wouldn’t do it as it’s 2 hours long, I would choose another on/offs VO2 workout at PL 5. Unless it was a really wet Saturday maybe. But even then I’d probably do a 1hr VO2 at the same PL plus a 1hr or longer endurance workout I reckon. Sleeping Beauty +5 then Baxter maybe.


I just looked back to see if I’ve ever done Sail. I’ve not, but I have "successfully* completed San Joaquin +4. VO2 Max 8.8

3 × 9 × 50/20s :rofl:

That one got marked as “All Out”

ETA: as per @The_Cog, NP for the 43 minute work portion of that ride worked out at 104% of my then TR FTP :+1:

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You could try calculating the normalized power over the interval portion of the workout (all three sets). If it is >105% of your FTP, odds are that “you can’t touch this”.


Crazy how that works, huh?

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Yeah that sounds really doable for me. I find anything less than 2 minutes at 120%+ and 108-112rpm to just not really move the needle for me. I’ve always seemed to be very anaerobic/fast twitch inclined though.

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Coincidentally, I did Terere on Tuesday this week…same structure as Sail, but slightly lower intensity (116% vs. 125% for the VO2 max intervals).

With the caveat that I really struggle with VO2 work, I didn’t find it horrible as the intervals were short enough (only 45") that fatigue did not build up too much. And there is a LOT of rest in these workouts. 13’ at low Z1 in between the interval sets, followed by 18’ at a similar level to finish the workout. I bumped my wattage up into low Z2 for these recovery intervals because I just can’t stand pedaling that long at ~110w.

Next week I have Perpendicular, which splits the difference between Terere and Sail, it looks like. I think it is ~120% for the intervals. We’ll see how it goes, but I feel OK about it.

It is the 3’+ VO2 sessions that crush me. I recover pretty well from short intervals, so 45" on, 45" off doesn’t hurt me too bad.

Saul doesn’t seem that far out there for me. But I just wouldn’t do it because if I’m doing a VO2 workout it’s going to be done in <75 minutes. If I’m going 90+ it’s going to be threshold focused intensity or below


Sail has its own theme song:


@TreyT I just did a quick analysis of the Sail ride feed…about 1 in 4 riders who started the workout did not complete it. That’s pretty bad compliance in a post-AT world!

So I would say your intuition is correct: these are very hard workouts. But not so hard that they are impossible.

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It was horrible … in the good way :blush:

Sorry :joy: not what I meant. Yeah those are long surges and I’m sure the third set, legs will feel like rubber, but I didn’t see it and say “oh shit”. The 13 minutes at 40% look more like the secret to a saddle sore

I know…just couldn’t let that gif opportunity pass by!!

Honestly…it is the worst part of the workout for me!! :rofl: :rofl:

Wow, I did not know about this feature. Not sure if I should thank you for the rabbit hole or not! :joy:


Probably need to look at why they failed - did they just get bored and give up…